An annuity is a long-term contract between you and your insurance company that helps to provide retirement income.

Benefits of a variable annuity
A variable annuity combines investment and protection features into one financial product. Benefits of a variable annuity include the following: 

  • Tax Deferral  - Assets grow tax deferred.
  • Professional Management - Portfolios are managed by qualified
    investment managers.
  • Lifetime Income - Income is predictable, sustainable and, through
    optional benefits, has the potential to grow.
  • Legacy - Death benefits and legacy options dictate how assets
    will be distributed to beneficiaries.

Variable annuities can be qualified or non-qualified. You own a qualified annuity if you purchased it with pre-tax dollars through an IRA or other qualified plan; you do not receive any additional tax advantages beyond that of the plan. You own a non-qualified annuity if you purchased it with after-tax dollars outside of an IRA or other qualified plan; income taxes are not collected until distributions are made.


Withdrawals from your annuity first come from any contract gains and can reduce the death benefit, optional benefits and contract value. Taxable distributions are subject to ordinary income tax and, if made prior to age 59½, may also be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Certain qualified retirement plans require that distributions begin by age 72 for individuals born on or after July 1, 1949, age 70½ for individuals born before that date (Required Minimum Distributions).


You have the option to convert your contract value into an income stream, which is called annuitization. When you annuitize, you turn your accumulated contract value into a stream of periodic payments, either for your lifetime, the lifetime of you and another person, or for a “period certain” (specific period of time, wherein if death occurs, the remaining payments are passed along to beneficiaries). If you own a non-qualified annuity contract, your payments will generally contain both taxable and nontaxable funds. If you own a qualified annuity contract, the whole of your payments will be taxable funds. When you annuitize, your income stream is dictated by the annuity option you selected and you no longer have access to your contract value. Any optional benefit(s) you selected upon purchase of your annuity, including death benefits, ends.


Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer.

Comments on taxation are based on John Hancock’s understanding of current tax law, which is subject to change. Please consult your own tax professional for guidelines specific to your situation.

Please contact your financial representative or call 1-800-344-1029 for more information, including product and fund prospectuses that contain complete details on investment objectives, risks, fees, charges, and expenses, as well as other information about
John Hancock, the investment company, and the product and underlying portfolios.


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John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Lansing, MI 48906, which is not licensed in New York. In New York, John Hancock Annuities are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595. John Hancock Variable Annuities are distributed by John Hancock Distributors LLC, member FINRA.